Results from a recent study from JAMA Ophthalmology have revealed that a specific type of non-invasive eye test is helping to assess risk for Alzheimer’s disease, and a Linthicum company that offers a managed eye care plan is backing the procedure.

One in 10 Americans older than age 65 has Alzheimer’s, while one-third older than 85 have the disease. The new research shows that eye doctors can detect small alterations in retinal blood vessels that are known to be biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease ― years before it begins to affect memory.

“By using a non-invasive technique known as optical coherence tomographic angiography (OCT-A), researchers looked at a variety of optical biomarkers from people with known preclinical Alzheimer’s and those without,” said Dr. Mark Ruchman, CMO, Versant Health. “They found that people in the very early stages of the disease consistently had changes to the retina. As such, the OCT-A holds promise for the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease for patients at risk, possibly before symptoms of cognitive decline appear.”

“The reality is one in every five Medicare dollars goes to someone with Alzheimer’s disease,” says Elizabeth Klunk, RN, BSN, CCM, vice president, medical management, Versant Health. “Early detection through the non-invasive OCT-A eye exam offers hope to patients and their families.”